Tag Archives: Animal Collective

Favorite Albums of 2009 (Chase)

Right now, I feel like a lazy bastard. 2009 is passing by, and the most remarkable event of the year for me was seeing Billy Ray Cyrus in a Starbucks. However, all my inaction allowed for me to soak up all the music and beer that arose this year.

It’s hard for me to imagine a busier year in music. With a slew of long awaited follow-ups (Flaming Lips, Eminem, Sonic Youth), new side projects (Bad Lieutenant, Beak, Them Crooked Vultures) and music news in general ( Blur reuniting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, Oasis split, Michael Jackson’s death), 2009 really out did itself.

I’ve put my picks of the year, in no particular order, below.

BEST ALBUMS OF 2009

Dan Deacon “Bromst”

Coming strong of the ridiculous, and often too much to handle Spiderman of the Rings, Dan Deacon set off to blow minds. Well, that what Bromst did for me anyway. A musical venture to Toon Land that never seems to run out of energy.

Flaming Lips “Embryonic”

I don’t know about you, but I prefer my Flaming Lips to heavily doped out. For the past two records, it seemed the Lips had decided to leave the psycho-tropics out of the recording studio. We here at SiA are pleased to annouce that with Embryonic, drug-induced music made a come back, and the Lips revitalized themselves. Hurrah!

DOOM “Born Like This”

Since 2005, the Supervillain himself, MF DOOM, seemed to fall off the face of the earth. Earlier this year, he dropped the “MF” from his name and unleashed his best solo outing to date upon the world. Featuring some excellent J Dilla production and unprecedented DOOM flow, it was a most welcome return.

Animal Collective “Merriweather Post Pavilion”
Album after album, Animal Collective manage to hone their experimental music in to a finer degree. MWPP is an instant classic. It’s one of those career defining albums that will be a benchmark for the band’s potential. After this can only be mind shattering greatness, or disappointment.

Grizzly Bear “Veckatimest”

Before Veckatimest, Grizzly Bear proved that they were a great atmospheric band. But previous albums failed to make it past a 3 month rotation. This one, however, is different. GB forged together a great pop record, while maintaining that atmosphere the indie crowd tends to admire.

Raekwon “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. 2
Good hip-hop is hard to come by these days. I’ve had Ghostface Killah carrying the torch for the past few years, but his recent stumbles had me worried. Have no fear, Raekwon is here! The long awaited follow-up exceeds all expectations, and is one the best hip-hop records in the past 3 years.

Tom Waits “Glitter and Doom Live”
The Gravely One rarely tours, and his sold-out tour across America last year was not to be missed. Sadly, I did. Thankfully, snippets from the tour have been pieced together on this most excellent of live albums. His voice harsh as ever, his stage banter still supreme, and alternate versions of recent songs and classics make Glitter and Doom Live essential to fans of……well, music.
Dirty Projectors “Bitte Orca”
To say that the Dirty Projectors’ music is eccentric, is a bit of an understatement. Starts, stops, blips, beeps, and occasionally incomprehensible lyrics can scare some people off. Bitte Orca saw the group tighten things up a bit, and put out a stellar record worth hundreds of revisits. No wonder why David Byrne loves them so.

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Animal Collective

No one really grabbed 2009 by the nuggets quite like Animal Collective did. They started off by releasing some of the best music of the year/their career in January with Merriweather Post Pavilion. Next, they supported that album with a great tour across the nation, with several major festival stops. They compiled an excellent box set of their work. And they finish the year strong with the 30+ minute Fall Be Kind EP, which shows that MWPP wasn’t their creative peak!

DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR

Eminem’s Return To Music
I can admit, I’m not that big of an Eminem fan. His first few albums were juvenile, fun, somewhat creative and always interesting. His issues with self-image and drug abuse led him to rehab and a few years out of the limelight. 2009 was supposed to be his big comeback, but all we got was Relapse. A record with half-assed writing, mediocre beats and an Em seems to have lost all relevance to the music world. Sure it sold well, but ultimately the record was a creative failure. Maybe if I were 14 again I would have crowned him king, instead I’m just sharpening the guillotine.

-Chase

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Animal Collective – “My Girls” (Unofficial Alt. Video)

Merriweather Post Pavilion has somehow managed to rocket Animal Collective into that blissful paradise known as Mega-Backlash.  A paradise city where the grass is weak and the beer is shitty (we get it, we get it…you’re only drinking High Life ironically). The band didn’t suddenly become less great (or strange) just because your brother heard them at a frat party. My friend, Nick, wore female clothing at a frat party and climbed into a tree…and then was nearly murdered by testosterone mutants. The girl Nick acquired his wardrobe from grabbed my crotch right next to the ice luge. Ice luges are gross and kind of awesome. And kind of slutty. Cold regret. 

Yes, it’s weird that Animal Collective seem about as ubiquitous as the fucking Killers, but it’s way past time to quit complaining when a good band becomes popular.  So the next time a more pretentious-than-thou kid tries to tell you Animal Collective jumped the shark after Here Comes the Indian, shove a Six Finger Satellite up his ass. 

Nick’s roommate, Rob Chesnutt, made his own video for “My Girls”. It’s better than twenty ice luges.

Chris

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “untitled“, posted with vodpod

Animal Collective Chat on NPR

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2/3 or 1/2 (their many configurations make it difficult for accurate fractions) of Animal Collective will be on NPR’s All Things Considered today at 2:00 p.m. EST.  Maybe they will talk about the Sun City Girls or drugs or Lisbon or handshakes.  And maybe NPR will read the comment I left with them about their cliched reportage from rural Oklahoma yesterday.  Maybe.  Listen here:

http://www. npr. org/templates/story/story. php?storyId=99607179

And why not?

Clip from the Sun City Girls‘ video “The Halcyon Days of Symmetry”:

Animal Collective Imagined

 

 Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

[Domino, 2009]
Am I really all the things that are outside of me?”

The dreamy underwater chug of Merriweather‘s opening track “In the Flowers” isn’t an altogether surprising first offer from a band like Animal Collective. It wallows around for a few minutes, floating on Avey Tare’s gargled vocal maneuvering throughout a wash of drone and electronics, setting a tone not unfamiliar to the Collective’s prior releases, before erupting into an anthematic fight song and settling back into the fringes of arpegiated obscurity. That is typically how the band has operated in the past: exploring the outer realms of pop music and then working their way to or around its sugary core, and then back out again.

This, I think, it a very central element to Animal Collective’s approach to music in general. Many of the reviews currently bludgeoning the internet have a lot to say about the album’s directness, a conversation that really began to happen a lot more frequently with 2007’s Strawberry Jam. Like that album, Merriweather‘s most memorable moments are when the album is at its most uncompromisingly immediate. This is because the band have shown us for years that they are capable of rewarding abstraction, of mastering drone and noise and tinkering with the lines of “listenability.” The band did what it had to do, which is show their listeners that — when it comes to pop music — they don’t always have to work from the outside in.

Even the band’s meteoric career shows this ethos at work, as the last five years have found them moving further and further from the left field of indie rock’s more “challenging” acts (see 2003’s Here Comes the Indian) and closer to something that sounds unquestionably human. That’s not to say that Animal Collective have lost the imagination and confidence to challenge an audience, nor that this is simply a case of a band sacrificing experimentation for accessibility; instead, the band’s embrace of the immediate can be more comfortably read as an altogether new medium in which the band can be challenging. 

Take the dewy croon of “Bluish,” for example: here, the band have taken their previous reaches to the outer limits of definability — be it of subject, speaker or sound — and re-contextualized them within a very direct love song. “Put on that dress that I like / it makes me so crazy, though I can’t say why / keep on your stockings for a while / there’s some kind of magic in the way you’re lying there.” Here, we not only find the album at its most earnest and unflinchingly unironic, we’re also afforded — through the endlessly busy noise components which occupy all of the song’s negative space — a glimpse of what makes this album so interesting. Instead of trying to answer the question of how to find order in disorientation, the song poses an entirely different question of how to create threads of chaos in a conventional order. In other words, what space for creative movement does traditional “pop” music provide us? 

The answer, according to Animal Collective: quite a lot. Blog-friendly “Brothersport,” for example, gets all of its mileage from three clearly-defined movements: the first is the almost punishing repetition of two impossibly catchy hooks, followed by two minutes of hypnotic noise and piercing arpegiators, then back to the trance-inducing sugar rush of its closing minutes. Here we have what our conditioned ear tells us are two separate poles, noise and melody, essentially providing the same service and receiving equal amounts of stage time, suggesting that the two aren’t as far apart (or easily identified) as one might think. 

After my first few days with this record, I likened my experience to lying on the couch and eating from a utility-sized can of frosting for two days. I felt almost guilty. Bloated with the shameless pleasure of gluttonous consumption, I knew the evidence was smudged on the corners of my mouth in sugary smears. Chris Piercy, whose analogy is unquestionably stronger, describes his time with Merriweather Post Pavilion as eating Fruitie Pebbles in a fever dream. This describes the experience more accurately in that the album’s pleasures are never simple ones. There’s something disorienting even in the band’s most direct sensibilities. More importantly, Animal Collective have proven that even the simplest of elements, like a love song or the catharsis of tragedy, have labrynthine dimensions through which we must maneuver in order to find the Ding an sich, the Thing in itself. Akin to Play Theory, especially as defined in the literary tradition, Merriweather Post Pavilion finds more reward in the continuation of play rather the than winning of the game. If it’s the hunt they’re after, then let it continue. 

Jezy Gray 

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

Marjorie Merriweather Post

According to Domino Records’ website, Animal Collective’s latest album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, will be released early on “deluxe 2xLP 180 gram gatefold vinyl with full album download (WAV or MP3) on January 6th, 2009 in North America.”

Release/listening parties will be going on in various cities across the country the week of the vinyl release.

The Cities (details to follow)
Anchorage, AK – KRUA Presents*
Atlanta, GA – Criminal Records – Jan. 1st @ 4PM
Austin, TX – End Of And Ear Records & KVRX – Jan. 3 @ 6PM
Boston, MA – WZBC presents*
Chicago, IL – WHPK presents*
Dallas, TX – Gorilla Vs. Bear Presents* (anyone want to go to this?)
Eugene, OR – KWVA Presents*
Lawrence, KS – Love Garden Sounds & KJHK – Jan. 6th
Los Angeles, CA – Fingerprints Records & KXLU – Jan. 6th
Miami, FL – WRGP Presents*
Minneapolis, MN – KUOM Presents*
New York, NY – Other Music Presents – Jan. 5th
Philadelphia, PA – WXPN Presents*
Portland, OR – Music Millennium – Jan. 3 @ 6PM
Raleigh, NC – WKNC Presents*
San Francisco, CA – Terrorbird Presents @ The Knockout – Jan. 6th, 7-10pm**
Santa Cruz, CA – KZSC Presents*
Seattle, WA – KUPS Presents*
St. Louis, MO – Vintage Vinyl & KDHX – Jan. 6th
Vancouver, BC – CFUV presents*
*Location & Date TBA
** w/ Maus Haus, French Miami

To say that I’m anticipating this record is an understatement. Obama (hopefully) and new Animal Collective should make turning 25 this January a little easier to swallow.

Live versions of (most of) the tracks that will be on the album:

“In the Flowers”

“My Girls”

“Also Frightened”

“Summertime Clothes”

“Daily Routine”

“Taste”

“Lion in a Coma”

“No More Runnin”

“Brothersport”